Super Rugby
Support for under-fire Cipriani
ESPNscrum Staff
May 5, 2011
Rebels fly-half Danny Cipriani celebrates a kick, Melbourne Rebels v Brumbies, Super Rugby, AAMI Stadium, Melbourne, Australia, February 25, 2011
Cipriani will miss this weekend's Super Rugby clash with the Reds after being stood down by the Rebels © Getty Images

The Rebels have been urged to persevere with wayward fly-half Danny Cipriani in the wake of his latest off-field indiscretion.

The 23-year-old former England fly-half - and utility back Richard Kingi - were stood down by the Rebels earlier this week after disobeying team orders and going out in Sydney following the team's 28-9 loss to the Waratahs last Saturday.

Cipriani also courted trouble earlier in the season after being kicked out of a Melbourne nightclub for taking a bottle of vodka from behind the bar. But the headline-grabbing playmaker has received some high-profile backing in the form of former Wallabies back Pat Howard and World Cup winning coach Bob Dwyer.

Howard, who also had a successful stint as player and coach of Leicester Tigers, admitted that Cipriani had not completely lived up to the hype but insisted he had made an impact. "Has he been as good as some people had hoped? No," Howard told The Age newspaper. "Has he been better than the people who had written him off [thought]? Absolutely, the balance is somewhere in between.

"Cipriani has played a role. He's shown that he could be very, very good. I'd love to make this judgment in another 12 months' time. I think if in two years he hasn't reached his promise then you would question in retrospect how good a decision it was... He's been available and there's a couple of games where you've seen a bit of brilliance."

Dwyer also believes that Cipriani has made his mark on the Super Rugby stage following his switch from London Wasps. "They've certainly got some good value out of him," Dwyer told the newspaper. "I think he's looked a real quality player with the Melbourne team."

Cipriani's manager issued a statement earlier this week saying his client regretted his actions. "Danny deeply regrets his behaviour and is as disappointed in himself as anyone," Emanuele Palladino said. "He wants to draw a line under this now and get on with what he does best, which is play rugby."

Former England captain Will Carling has not been so sympathetic and believes Cipriani needs to "grow up and show humility" if he wants to reclaim his England shirt. "I was certainly no angel and I made many mistakes, both as a man and as a player," he told The Sun. "But I'd like to think my No 1 focus was always as a rugby player and the most important thing in the game is being a team member.

"The sad thing with Danny is that he is an incredibly talented player but doesn't seem to understand the dynamics of playing in a team sport. There is a code within which teams operate in and no one is exempt from it. Danny has to grow up and learn how to fit into a team...If you hack off your team-mates, you destroy your ability to be a team player. He has to realise the game is not all about him."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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